Tributes to ‘genius’ Karl Lagerfeld as fashion designer dies

Donatella Versace and Victoria Beckham are among the stars paying tribute to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld following his death.

Chanel, where Lagerfeld was creative director, confirmed his death to the Associated Press.

He died after a period of ill-health and was around 85 years old.

Lagerfeld's date of birth has long been unclear, as it was previously widely believed to be 1933, although it is listed as 1938 on his official website. In 2013 he told Paris Match magazine that he was born in 1935.

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Karl Lagerfeld em 1987, já no comando da Chanel (Foto: Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: (L-R) Rodarte, dress, spring/summer 2011; Rodarte, dress spring/summer 2011; House of Chanel, Karl Largerfeld, House of Lesage, Evening dress, spring/summer 1984 Haute Couture; Guo Pei, Evening gown, spring/summer 2010, Haute Couture on show at 'China: Through the Looking Glass' press preview at the Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Paris, FR - February 19: A Fashion Illustration of the Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld on February 19, 2019 in Paris. (Illustration by Chic Sketch via Getty Images)
People stand in front of flowers laid in tribute to late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld outside the French fashion house Chanel, in Paris, on February 19, 2019. - German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85, it was announced on February 19, 2019. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman lays flowers in tribute to late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld outside the French fashion house Chanel, in Paris, on February 19, 2019. - German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85, it was announced on February 19, 2019. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue's Andre Leon Talley during Chanel Event - New York Collection - December 7, 2005 at 57th Street Boutique in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage for CHANEL)
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: Karl Lagerfeld and wedding dress model walk the runway during the Chanel Haute-Couture Show as part of Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2012/13 at Grand Palais on July 3, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Michel Dufour/WireImage)
Karl Lagerfeld (AP)
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 8: (L-R) Ashley Olsen, Diane Kruger, Karl Lagerfeld and Lindsey Lohan attend Chanel Paris to New York Runway Show and Private Cocktail Reception Hosted By Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel on December 8, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Erik T. Kaiser/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
German-born fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (R) is pictured during the Chanel Metiers d'Art Pre-Fall collection show, entitled 'Paris-Bombay' on December 6, 2011 in Paris. Since 2003, every year, Chanel launches a parallel collection to their Pret-a-porter and Haute Coutute collections: the annual Metiers d'Art collection which is this year inspired to India, with its huge artistic and manufacturing inheritance, its jewels, its colours and its precious fabrics. AFP PHOTO FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Des mannequins aux créateurs, de nombreuses figures de la mode rendent hommage au grand couturier, mort ce mardi à l'âge de 85 ans.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld stands on the runway after the CHANEL Paris New York Métiers d'art 2018/19 Show at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, U.S., December 4, 2018. Picture taken December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
German designer Karl Lagerfeld appears at the end of his Spring/Summer 2019 women's ready-to-wear collection show for fashion house Chanel during Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, right, talks with U.S. actress Kristen Stewart after the presentation of his 2015-2016 Chanel cruise collection at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
West Germany's Karl Lagerfeld, designer for French fashion house Chanel, talks with model Kimora Perkins after presentation of the Chanel show for 1989-1990 haute couture collections in Paris, France, Tuesday, July 25, 1989. Perkins, 14, of St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is Lagerfeld's youngest model. (AP Photo/Pierre Gleizes)

Versace led the tributes to the designer, writing on Instagram: "Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I.

"We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you."

Singer-turned-designer Beckham posted on Instagram: "So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP x vb."

Actress Diane Kruger posted on Instagram: "Karl..... I cannot tell you how much you meant to me and how much I will miss you. I will never forget your kindness towards me, your laughs, your imagination.

"I came to France to see you this week and introduce you to my daughter... I'm heartbroken I was too late. Rest In Peace, I adore you."

Model and TV star Alexa Chung said: "Rest in peace, Karl. I remember being so scared to interview you and yet you were in fact incredibly witty and generous.

"Thank you for inviting me to some of the most glamorous experiences of my life, it was an honour to know you. Oh yeah and thanks for the dry shampoo tip, will always think of you as I powder my wig."

British designer Henry Holland tweeted a quote from Lagerfeld, writing: "'To design is to breathe, so if I can't breathe I'm in trouble' RIP @KarlLagerfeld #karlargerfeld."

Singer Lily Allen remembered the designer as a "true genius", writing on Instagram: "You made me feel like a princess.

"I never quite understood what you saw in me but I am forever grateful for the support that you and Chanel have given me over the last 15 years. Rest In Peace Karl, you were a true genius and will be missed, so much."

The acclaimed German fashion designer had been at French luxury brand Chanel since 1983.

His death comes after he missed the Chanel haute couture show in Paris in January.

Lagerfeld was also the creative director of LVMH-owned Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi, as well as his eponymous fashion label, which he opened in 1984.

Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said: "With the passing of Karl Lagerfeld we have lost a creative genius who helped to make Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses.

"We owe him a great deal: His taste and talent were the most exceptional I have ever known. Artistic director of Jean Patou in 1959, creator of Fendi since 1965, member of the LVMH Prize jury since its creation in 2013, he honoured the LVMH group with an extraordinarily stimulating creative and entrepreneurial friendship.

"I will always remember his immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season, his inexhaustible energy, the virtuosity of his drawings, his carefully guarded independence, his encyclopaedic culture, and his unique wit and eloquence.

"The death of this dear friend deeply saddens me, my wife and my children. We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration."

Fendi's next show is due to take place on Thursday during Milan Fashion Week.

Lagerfeld had also worked for Chloe and H&M, and was an acclaimed photographer, having gone behind the lens for a number of high fashion magazines and for his own fashion campaigns.

Regarded as one of the most important fashion visionaries of the 20th and 21st centuries, he was known for regularly wearing sunglasses and a black suit with a white shirt, and with his grey hair pulled back into a ponytail.

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